ECDC’s goal is to prevent and control infectious diseases across Europe. Although this is a big and challenging task we look to achieve this in partnership with EU Member States and partners. In particular ECDC offers support and pays special attention to health inequalities and vulnerable populations across Europe, for example, the Roma population.
ECDC was, therefore, very pleased that the Government of Romania extended an invite to meet health care workers who are working with the Roma population. ECDC Director, Marc Sprenger, as head of the delegation concluded three lesson:
Extremely complex issues
Public health issues in Romania are very complex, and have many non-health related aspects. For example the access to health care and preventive services for the population who is not official registered. In order to enable change and make a difference, an integrated strategic approach is required, and investment is needed in areas other than health, especially in education and social services. In this respect, Roma mediators have represented a success in meeting health and social needs of this population group. This underscores again the important statement of the Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General of WHO, that every minister is a minister of health!
TB a priority issue in Romania
Trust is an essential ingredient of a successful relationship between patient and physician, an issue which is enhanced if working with Roma population. It is when trying to assure that TB services remain uninterrupted and access to continuous treatment is ensured for all TB patients to stop further transmission of TB in general and in particular its resistant forms (M/XDR-TB). Trust between medical care team and patients is a key ingredient which enables successful treatment completion.
Trained staff and efficient functioning of diagnostics laboratories and treatments centres at all levels of the national TB system are of paramount importance for diagnostic and treatment success. After visiting TB dispensary and seeing the amount of daily pills, the ECDC Director observed, “I understand the importance of Direct Observed Therapy even more!”
Public health system
It is essential that the two key components of the national public health system - epidemiological surveillance and microbiology - continue to have appropriate human resources as well as direct lines of responsibility and communication, including during times of health reform. This represents the prerequisite of a sustainable, efficient public health system. In-country postgraduate training – “Member States track of the EPIET training” – could be of consistent added value for professional development of the staff in both epidemiology and microbiology.
Sustainable funding from the Ministry of Health for all levels, including the National Institute of Public Health and District Public Health Authorities, would enable Romania to survey and control communicable diseases and face challenges in public health in the future.
Romania has made significant advances in public health and has benefited from of a wealth of projects in public health funded from external sources. Nevertheless, to continue the positive trends, sustainable funding is needed from public sources to further build on achieved results and to continue the strengthening of Romanian public health system.
See our video on childhood TB in Europe